James Levine and Met Opera Settle Suit Over Sexual Misconduct Firing

James Levine and Met Opera Settle Suit Over Sexual Misconduct Firing


Mr. Pai had reported his experience to the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois in 2016. No criminal charges were brought against Mr. Levine; Illinois officials noted that, among other things, while the state’s age of consent is higher now, it was still 16 in 1986, the age Mr. Pai was and the year in which he said Mr. Levine, then in his early 40s, had first sexually abused him.

The Met suspended Mr. Levine the next day, when The Times reported the accounts of more accusers, including Chris Brown, a bassist who said that Mr. Levine had abused him in 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan and Mr. Levine, then 25, led the school’s orchestral institute; and James Lestock, a cellist, who said that he, too, was abused at the school and later, when he joined a tight-knit clique of musicians known as Levinites who followed Mr. Levine as his career began to flourish. In addition, Albin Ifsich, who became a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that Mr. Levine had abused him when he was a member of the clique.

Met officials said at the time of Mr. Levine’s suspension that they were only aware of two occasions when allegations of misconduct by Mr. Levine had been brought to the company’s leaders. In 1979, Anthony A. Bliss, the Met’s executive director, wrote a letter to a board member who had received anonymous allegations about Mr. Levine, saying that he had “no knowledge of criminal activities on the part of Mr. Levine” and that “scurrilous rumors” had circulated for months. And in October 2016, after Mr. Levine had become music director emeritus, Mr. Gelb was contacted by the Lake Forest Police about Mr. Pai’s report. Mr. Gelb said that he had briefed the board’s leadership about the inquiry and that Mr. Levine had denied the accusations; Mr. Gelb said that the company took no further action at the time, waiting to see what the police determined.

But the company said that the investigation it commissioned had found numerous instances of misconduct. “During the course of the investigation, the Met for the first time uncovered credible evidence that Levine (during his association with the Met) engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards numerous artists,” it wrote in court papers.

The day the allegations against him were first made public in 2017, Mr. Levine had just conducted his 2,577th, and very likely final, Met performance: the Verdi Requiem.



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